Environment & Highways 14th October 2021

Highlights of Environment & Highways Meeting on 14th October 2021

Plan for the Environment to support diversity

The Environment & Highways Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council met on 14th October 2021 with topics including:

  • Handymen have been busy including cutting grass, dealing with a trip hazard in New Church Road,
  • Concern about overgrown Hall Road pond,
  • Hopkins Home building site,
  • Lorkin Daniell hedging & safety concerns, and
  • Orpen Hall tree replacement.
Continue reading “Environment & Highways 14th October 2021”

Day 63 of (un?) Lockdown – the Old Church edition

Old Church circa 1880

Tower of JewelsDay 63 of (un?) Lockdown

The main news item for day 63 is an update on the Old Church renovations followed by a few updates from our government, and some fun at the end.  But first, we have a tall story from Annie Neish.

For those of you who are unable to cruise the village she thought you would like to see the Echium Pininana Tower of Jewels flowering beside the fence of the allotment on New Church Road.  Several years ago John had one on the plot next to her so she knew it might be possible.

A quick search on Wikipedia reveals this plant is native to La Palma in the Canaries where it is endangered due to habitat loss (Laurel forests).  Fortunately, it is being cultivated quite widely in the British Isles and Northern California so should have some resilience.

St Mary’s Old Church

Agreement about the best way forward following the discovery of the wall paintings was reached just as the Coronavirus put us all into lockdown. The work can now continue. Continue reading “Day 63 of (un?) Lockdown – the Old Church edition”

Parish Safety Volunteers Sought

Police-&-Fire-Parish-Safety-VolunteerEssex Seek Parish Safety Volunteers

Further to the earlier news item (more details here), we have received the following update about Safety Volunteers from Essex Community Messaging:

The Parish Safety Volunteer Programme is a new community safety initiative, delivered in partnership by Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and volunteers from local communities.

Could you volunteer?

Parish Safety Volunteers are trained by experts from our organisations to deliver bespoke fire and crime safety advice and fit smoke detectors in homes.  Parish Safety Volunteers will work in pairs, in a smart but comfortable uniform and visit people in their own homes to offer this bespoke service. A diverse range of people will benefit from the Parish Safety Volunteer programme from young families, to the elderly and those vulnerable to the risk of fire or fear of crime.

You must be over 18, know your local area well and be able to commit to an average of 10 hours each month. Everyone who volunteers as a Parish Safety Volunteer will be interviewed, provide two references, complete standard Police security checks and a confidential health questionnaire. Good all-round communication skills are also a must. Reasonable expenses will be paid.

If you are interested in finding out more about what is involved in becoming a Parish Safety Volunteer, please visit www.essex-fire.gov.uk/volunteering or email [antibot mailto-=”[email protected]”] or ring 01376 576237.

Parish Safety Volunteers

Police-&-Fire-Parish-Safety-VolunteerParish Safety Volunteers

Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service are working together to help make a difference in local communities, helping people to live & feel safer.  They are launching a brand new volunteer scheme and are looking to recruit two Parish Safety Volunteers per Parish in Essex, tasked with arranging and conducting home safety visits.  These volunteers will deliver crucial fire and crime prevention advice, extensive knowledge of local support services and the ability to fit smoke detectors directly into the homes of those most in need.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to apply for interview and be required to undertake Essex Police vetting. You will receive comprehensive training from both Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, a full uniform and all equipment required to carry out the role. To ensure volunteers are well supported, Parish Safety Volunteers from across the county will be invited to on-going training and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Scheme Information

1. What is the purpose of the Parish Safety Volunteer Scheme?

The purpose of this initiative is to make local communities safer, more resilient and better protected from fire and crime. It will do this by:

  • Reducing accidental dwelling fires in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Reducing burglaries in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Making people feel safer in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.

2. Why are Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service working together on this?

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service alongside Essex Police have a joint desire to increase community resilience and support the building of stronger communities in Essex.

2. What will Parish Safety Volunteers deliver in their Parishes?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be required to…

  • Conduct Parish Safety Visits and deliver Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service approved advice and support.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of what support is already offered in the Parish and be able to signpost accordingly.
  • Be able to fit smoke detectors in the homes of local residents.
  • Participate in activities in order to generate Parish Safety Visits and promote awareness of the scheme in their Parish.

4. What else will Parish Safety Volunteers be expected to do whilst volunteering?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be expected to…

  • Liaise with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in order to arrange visits and confirm volunteering availability.
  • Keep and maintain the Parish Safety Volunteer equipment provided by Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Attend Parish Safety Volunteer group information, training, review and update sessions
  • Complete the paperwork required of Parish Safety Volunteers and return it within the agreed timeframe.
  • Adhere to the policies, expectations and procedures required by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police at all times.

5. How will Parish Safety Volunteers find individuals requiring a visit?

Referrals will be generated by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, through the processes already used by the organisations to arrange home safety visits.

Referrals will also be generated by Parish Safety Volunteers themselves, as they will be promoting the service and already have some local knowledge of areas and individuals that would benefit from a PSV visit.

6. How will Parish Safety Volunteers interact with the Parish Council?

Parish Safety Volunteers will not require co-ordination or management from Parish Councils as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will provide all support needed.

However, we will set up a direct line of communication between Parish Safety Volunteers and Parish Councils. This could mean that volunteers attend Parish Council Meetings to update on progress and activity. It could also mean a telephone or email update from volunteers. This will be a local arrangement tailored to the needs of the Parish Council in question and established when the scheme is introduced to the Parish.

7. How will Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police keep Parish Councils updated on the PSV Scheme?

ECFRS will send a bi-monthly progress update to all Parish Councils for whom the Parish Safety Co-ordinator holds contact details. This will be sent on approximately the final day of the month.

8. How will we know what impact the Parish Safety Volunteers have on their Parish?

The Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator will carry out a robust evaluation of the PSV scheme. This will be completed in by October 2016.

9. Key Contact

Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service – Kieron Moir.

No: 01376576237


Please complete an application form, or get in touch using [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

Update for Silver Surfers

Silver Surfers Update

Unusually two news updates have come through quite close together, both targeting our older generation(s), one from our regular correspondent at the Methodist Church and another from Colchester Borough Council.

Silver Sunday TeaSilver Sunday – 1st March

There has been considerable publicity about the fact that the proportion of our population that are elderly is increasing.  Also that there is a significant proportion of elderly people who live alone and can be lonely and become isolated.  A charitable trust has set up “Silver Sunday” in an attempt to raise this issue and try to take steps to address it (www.silversunday.org.uk).  We became aware of this and felt we as a Church would like to respond. The designated Silver Sunday is in October but we were not in a position to arrange something at that time.

As a first step we are holding a simple afternoon tea on Sunday March 1 at 3.00 and are inviting folk to attend.  If you are elderly, living alone and not fortunate enough to have family and/or friends living nearby this could be for you.  You are warmly invited to an Afternoon Tea with folk in a similar situation to yourself.  We will provide transport to pick you up from your home, bring you to the tea and return you to your home when the tea has finished.

If you, a neighbour or someone else you know, would like to come to the tea please contact Judith Fletcher (01206 241969) or Andrew Wilks (01206 242511). If you can let us know you are coming it will help with our arrangements.

Crucial Crew – 27th March

The FREE Crucial Crew event is taking place on Friday 27th March between 10am – 2pm at St Botolphs Church, St Botolpsh St.  and is targeting those over 55s who are members of established clubs or groups.

Several local organisations have joined together to organise, Older Persons Crucial Crew.  This event will bring together 130 ambassadors from clubs and groups serving older persons in the Colchester Area and involves 16 tables in an informal setting.

There will be a total of 16 speakers from 8 different organisations;

  • The Police Home and personal security,
  • The Fire service Home fire safety advice,
  • Trading Standards, Rogue traders and consumer advice,
  • Environmental Health for residents,
  • Colchester street wardens, street safety,
  • Gas safe,
  • Young people from Stanway School computer mobile phone advice, and
  • Red Cross.

Each speaker will sit at your table for 15 minutes giving advice and information in an informal setting, almost like a safety speed dating!!

A free buffet Lunch prepared, provided by Colchester Institute catering course students, will be served at your table by Students from Stanway School. After lunch the speaker’s organization plus several other service and help organisations will provide tables where you can go and talk in more detail on issues raised during the morning’s event.

This event is for the over 55s  and it is the aim that the members attending will take back the information gained, the contacts made to their respective clubs, ensuring that the information is cascaded through the whole area.

There will be limited free transport available on the day, but to save costs if you are able you can use your own or Public transport leaving this for the people who need it we would be very grateful.

As I am sure you will understand that with just 130 places available for the whole of Colchester we have to offer up to 5 places to each Organisation on a first come first served basis so if you are interested please return the linked ticket request to:

Les Nicoll
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
Fire station,Fronks Road,
Dovercourt, CO12 4JE

Or by e-mail to [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

Alternatively call 07779 129888


Driving advice with floods

Creating a bow wave like this could damage your vehicle and be inconsiderate of other road users

Floods are not fun if you get it wrong

In light of recent torrential downpours and localised flooding, Essex Police has the following advice/cautions to offer:

Floods & Standing Water

Only drive through water if you know that it’s not too deep, i.e. no deeper than 25cm (10 inches).

Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave.

Allow oncoming traffic to pass first and test your brakes as soon as you can after leaving the water.

Don’t driving through fast-moving water, such as at a flooded bridge approach – your car could easily be swept away.

Watch out for standing water, trying to avoid it if you can, and adjust your speed to the conditions.

  • Driving fast through standing water is dangerous; tyres lose contact with the road and you lose steering control in what’s known as ‘aquaplaning’. If you do experience aquaplaning, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the throttle until the tyres regain grip.
  • Driving fast through standing water is inconsiderate. Driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can result in water being thrown on to pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists. You could face a fine if caught driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
  • Driving fast through standing water can cause expensive damage. The air intake on many cars is low down at the front of the engine bay and it only takes a small quantity of water sucked into the engine to cause serious damage.
  • As you drive slowly through standing water, use a low gear so the engine revs are higher; water in the exhaust could otherwise damage the catalytic convertor.



BHYFC Achieves FA Charter Standard

Bergholt Heath win FA Charter Standard

FA Charter Standard logo colourFA Charter CertificateWest Bergholt’s own youth football Club, Bergholt Heath YFC has just received official notification that the Football Association has awarded it the prestigious “FA Charter Standard Club” accreditation.

After a long period of assessment starting some 9 months ago that included an audit of its polices & procedures, finances and of course both its youth coaching and child welfare qualifications, the Football Association has recently confirmed that Bergholt Heath now holds this official national standard.

The accreditation recognises that the Club provides structured coaching by FA qualified people for children of all ages and abilities to both train and play football in a safe environment.

Bergholt Heath is affiliated to the Essex Football Association and enters youth teams into the Colchester and District Youth Football League from the ages of 6 to 18.  The Club currently has teams playing at under 8, under 10, under 12 and under 16 age groups and will be looking to add at least one more team below the current under 8 age next season (September 2015).

If you have a child interested in playing football please contact Club secretary David Bowden on 01206 241201 for further information.

Traffic Safety Update

Last summer the Parish Council adopted a Traffic Safety Plan which has its origins in the Parish Plan and has as its aim an enhancement of levels of safety in the village.  This plan has been developed by the Environment and Highways Committee of the Parish Council as a result of the ongoing and increasing concerns of village residents.

A principal objective of the traffic plan is to improve all aspects of safety in the region of  Heathlands School and the surrounding feeder roads.  To achieve this measures are needed that will help to slow traffic, restrict parking that is irresponsible in dangerous areas and at the same time  provide alternative parking for parents that find it necessary to use a car to transport their children to school.

The plan contains a number of proposals for relatively minor structural work in New Church Road and School Lane.  These include parking restrictions at the junctions at each end of New Church Road, better signage to improve awareness of the school and a build out from the footpath from Mumford Close.  These plans have now been considered for implementation by the Local Highways Panel and it is good to report that all have been approved.  It is pleasing to know that if ideas that come forward from the village are put into a plan and discussed with the authorities concerned they can be developed into realistic projects.  As yet there is no news of when the work will take place but the village will be kept informed.

For its part the Parish Council has considered ways of providing alternative parking.  The Orpen Hall car park will be resurfaced and facilities improved.  The works mentioned above will enhance safety for the walk from the car park to school.  The Treble Tile has agreed that, subject to certain conditions, its car park can be used at school drop off and pick up times.  To make safe the walk from here to school a new footpath parallel to School Lane is being installed along the edge of Poors Land.

Throughout this process the Parish Council is in dialogue with the school to ensure that as these modifications are put into place maximum advantage for all concerned is achieved by them.  A full copy of The Safety Plan can be obtained by E-mail from The Parish Clerk or Harry Stone at  [email protected] or alternatively it can be viewed on this website.